LANSING, Mich. — The Metro-Lansing Poor People’s Campaign mounted a car caravan Monday calling on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Mayor Andy Schor to support affordable and safe housing and access to water.
"We’re very excited to be here today for this car caravan, to just heighten awareness around some of the issues that are happening here in the city,” said LaShawn Erby, a community activist and playwright.
"Specifically, we’re raising issues around how the people of the Porter Apartments are living in unsanitary conditions, how there was a death in the city jail, and also how, there was also a death in a homeless camp.”
The participants met at Union Missionary Baptist Church. Many had signs, and others wrote on their cars prior to the caravan.
Tom Arthur, pastor at Sycamore Creek Church, said he and his church have been organizing around racial reconciliation for many years now, noting that poverty disproportionately affects people of color.
“I’m writing ‘fight poverty, not the poor.’ It’s a recognition that a lot of times, the laws that get put in place, end up criminalizing the poor, particularly those who are the most poor are the homeless. I don’t know that those are always intentionally intended to criminalize the poor, but intentionally or unintentionally, I think they often do," Arthur said.
Erby said the work of the campaign is important “because it’s the Lord’s work, okay? Because we have to advocate for the least of these. If you see someone who needs help and you don’t help them, you’re complicit in whatever their problem is, and we’re not going to be that. It’s 2021; we’re holding people accountable.”
Anntrina Hope-Cole of Rise Up Michigan and Rise Up Lansing said that one does not need money nor time to support the poor people’s campaign.
“You could call from your car, and make a complaint to somebody. There are folks that need housing vouchers that just need someone to bother their supervisor to get them into a house. Reach out to a group on Facebook and leave a box of groceries at the door for us to pick up – we will come do that. There is room for everybody to participate and help their community and I encourage folks to get out there and do that,” Hope-Cole said.
For more information, go to Michigan Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
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